Friday December 12, 2014
Much respected South Burlington resident, parent, and school board member Diane Bugbee announced at the December 3 board meeting that she will not be seeking re-election when her term is up in March 2015. Bugbee, who has served on the board since March 2011, thanked the students, their families, the school district, and the citizens of South Burlington for trusting her to make education decisions on their behalf. She also lauded her fellow board members for their caring, respect, and professionalism.
Bugbee, who is a married mother of three sons, two South Burlington High School graduates and one sophomore, said that balancing family, work, and board responsibilities had become especially challenging over the last year and factored largely in her decision not to seek re-election in March. In addition to Bugbee’s commitments to her family and the board, she also works as the Children’s Services Specialist with the State of Vermont Developmental Disabilities Services Division. Bugbee’s background is in social work and she began working with the state in 1990 with the Vermont Department of Health.
It is this background that has helped make her such an asset to the board. Chair Elizabeth Fitzgerald said, “Her professional experience in the social services field has been invaluable to the board as we have considered how to ensure that students are available to learn and how to encourage family support throughout that process.”
Being a member of the school board is a daunting task and during Bugbee’s tenure she has always found the budget discussions to be the most challenging aspect of the position. Assuring that students are prepared to face the challenges of a changing professional landscape while being sensitive to the financial realities of taxpayers is a months in the making annual process that is no easy feat!
In addition to tackling the annual budgets, Bugbee has also worked with the board on evaluating the District Ends and investigating how they align with the common core, Education Quality Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and Proficiency Based Graduation Requirements. She and the board have also accomplished an audit of the teacher performance evaluation system, reduced liabilities in the support staff pension and nutrition services program, and arranged for RETN to record all of the school board meetings in an effort to increase outreach to the community. Master planning and visioning in conjunction with the city has also been a priority and the task force is currently up and running.
Think you have what it takes to join the school board? If you’re considering running in March, Bugbee offers this advice: “Being on the board is rewarding and challenging. Difficult questions are asked, difficult decisions have to be made. There are often no simple answers and decisions are made that will not make everyone happy. Stakeholders have many different viewpoints. Each Board member brings a unique experience to the table. Prospective School Board candidates must have the ability to understand the multiple perspectives, evaluate them in the context of the decision being made and the information available, and maintain a steady state during challenging circumstances.”
With the board responsibilities off her plate, Bugbee will have more time for reading, family dinners, and for finding other ways to become involved in the school district that are equally meaningful but not as time consuming as the school board.
Fitzgerald added, “Throughout her tenure on the board, she has been guided by compassion, personal integrity, a sense of humor when needed, and an unwavering sense of care and concern for the students, their families and the staff of the South Burlington school system. She will be sorely missed by her colleagues on the board.”
SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent